One surefire way to fail at social media is to be set in your ways. Not only do content trends change constantly, but actual platform usage and effective posting frequency change often as well. If you create a strategy and never make adjustments, you are just asking to flop. Let your social media strategy be comprehensive, but not set in stone… detailed, but not immobile. If you notice something isn't working well, CHANGE IT! Try something new! I can't stress enough how important flexibility is in any social strategy.
Take time now and then to do a quick Google search of social media trends. Twitter and Facebook even tell you what is trending right when you sign on! Don’t get stuck in a rut of boring, similar, strictly informative posts. Remember: It’s not advertising… It’s not an infomercial… It’s SOCIAL! If you give up before your strategy is fully implemented and has the opportunity to flourish, you’ll gain nothing, and will have wasted a lot of time!
There is a build-up phase that must take place before you start reaping the benefits of a solid social media presence. The lower your number of followers, the fewer people will interact and share. As your numbers get higher, so will your reach. Here's where that part about flexibility comes back into play. Not getting tons of new follows every day? Stay flexible. Recruit those closest to you to help spread the word. Ask your biggest fans (your loved ones) to do what they can to get more eyes on your content! You would do the same for them, right?
Every like, favorite, comment, and share means more eyes on your posts and your brand than before. Every new set of eyes has the potential to become a new follower if your content is great. Every new follower has the potential to one day become a paying client. This doesn't happen overnight, but there are always ways to speed up the process. The more flexibility you have built in to your strategy, the more you'll be prepared and able to adapt to changing circumstances. So basically, the less likely you are to fail.
Social Media Success Requires Effort From You
Your social media success program will only be as successful as you make it – You have to put the time in if you want it to take off and become a real means of self-promotion. If you don’t maintain a consistent presence, people won’t have anything to look forward to from you. That’s a very quick way to lose followers. Another great way to lose followers is to post uninteresting, run-of-the-mill stuff with no personal touches.
Remember…You want to show everybody out there that you’re not a faceless entity that wants their money. You’re a company made of PEOPLE! The type of people that they want to have their backs when they need the services you offer!
So dig in. Your social media success depends on it. The only thing you have to be afraid of is missing out on the brand awareness, trust, and loyalty that come along with solid social media!
Is Internet Marketing for Small Businesses Being Cornered?
I’ll start by mentioning this – as it has crossed my mind. I’ve been working in this field since 1994 and always felt the Internet was where small business was going to be able to compete with the Wal-Marts of the world. As we’ve seen what the big box effect has had on small business retail, I’ve also started questioning whether these same large entities have finally corporatized the Internet to the point where they are now setting the rules for REALLY having to pay to play.
Google and the large Internet marketing agencies want to say this is not the case however both of these entities also have the most to gain from it continuing its current course. Google through the inevitable increased PPC revenue and the agencies from a ton of work generated to service it – from those that can afford it, of course.
I see it forcing established businesses to commit to the expense of internally hiring or contracting an Internet marketing division or agency to completely research and develop an online marketing plan, implement it and perform the interactive follow-ups to do it correctly. I’ve found the level of creativity involved alone to really do this right to be intense – equating to being unaffordable for a small business to do.
Can Small Business Play This Game?
In one respect, we look at the new playing field as an excellent opportunity to expand our business and gain better quality clientele that can afford to pay for the service.
On the other hand, I’ve pointed out enough that start-ups and very small business owners with limited resources have to be asking themselves how they are supposed to be able compete as well. Aside from the monetary aspect, what is probably even more critical is the time that’s involved.
Most small businesses have a hard time with working with us for their foundation website’s content much less committing to contributing to an on-going content marketing campaign. We’re finding that many of our clients are just not going to – or not willing to - provide the level of participation we are going to require of them.
Regardless, we feel there is no way that anything can be done effectively without a structured commitment from the client to participate to make it affordable. Thus, our challenge with small business content marketing has become finding a “balance” of establishing enough client cooperation for both, an effective and affordable Internet marketing program. There is no way most can afford to have us do everything that is necessary without it.
Works Only If Small Businesses Get Involved
I also found it interesting that a couple of larger Internet marketing sales blogs described where they drew their lines in making a sale. They pretty much make it clear when they meet with new clients; not only do they have to commit to a substantial monthly budget towards the program, but that they also have to be committed to providing the resources within their company to make it successful or they walk away from the deal.
Quite frankly, we also agree with this. If the client does not commit and follow through from their end then it would be impossible for the marketing program to be effective. There is no way we can do it all without it taking substantially more time to do than they can afford.
In a nutshell, the pundits are saying SEO isn't dead and small business can absolutely effectively still play the game. But the answer for small business content marketing most definitely involves more time commitment and monetary expense for the small business owner.
In our reality, despite the best intentions of our many small business and start-up clients, actually getting them to follow through with it is one of our biggest disappointments. We cannot control their actions – only ours.
So the question remains, will small design and marketing companies and their small business clients be able to adapt to the new small business content marketing requirements and still be affordable? I suppose the bigger question is - can they afford not to?